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Jeremiah 50:42

42. They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.

42. Arcum et scutum apprehendent, crudelis ipse (hoc est, omnes erunt crudeles,) et non tangentur misericordia; vox eorum tanquam mare sonabit (vel, tumultuabitur,) et super equos ascendent; paratus est quisque tanquam vir (hoc est, parati erunt) ad proelium contra to, filia Babylonis.

 

Jeremiah again speaks especially of armor, to intimate that the Babylonians would not be able to sustain the assault of their enemies. He then says that they would be armed with the bow and the shield; 7878     Rather “spear” or lance; so the Sept. and Syr., though the Vulg. and Targ. have “shield.” — Ed. and adds, that they would be cruel. It is certain that the Persians were very bloody; for it was a barbarous nation; and where barbarity rules, there is no feeling of mercy. Cyrus indeed wished to appear a magnanimous prince, and not a savage; but it is sufficiently evident that he was very cruel, though Xenophon in his Life speaks of him otherwise; but he is not a true historian, for he tells many false things in favor of Cyrus. But when any one reads all that has been recorded, he will readily find out that Cyrus was a barbarian, who delighted in slaughter and carnage.

As to the Medes, they were given to luxuries, and were not a warlike nation. Darius, however, brought with him many princes, those whom he had overcome in uncultivated countries, and such as also possessed some valor. Though, then, the king of the Medes was effeminate as well as his people, yet he had with him many warlike men. And the same thing is expressed also by Isaiah; and you ought to compare this prophecy with that of Isaiah (Isaiah 13:17) for the two Prophets wholly agree, though Isaiah was dead when Jeremiah uttered this prophecy and wrote it.

He says that their voice would be tumultuous as the sea, or would sound or roar as the sea, when moved by some violent storm. And all these things were said, that the Babylonians might know that all their defenses would Be of no avail, when God should arm the Persians and the Medes for their destruction. For had that war been carried on only by men, the Chaldeans would have never thought that their enemies would be victorious; and doubtless they would have never been so, had not the Lord roused them and determined by their means to execute vengeance on the Chaldeans. He says that they would be prepared as a man for war Interpreters do not seem to me to understand the meaning of the Prophet; for though Jeremiah uses the word “prepared” in the singular number, yet he speaks of the whole people. But how does he say they would be prepared? even like a man Here he sets forth the union of the whole army, for they would all come to battle, like one man attacking his own enemy. It is indeed difficult for the minds of all to be so directed in battle, that they should unitedly attack an enemy and fight as it were with one hand, and that they should not look on one another, and yet make an united assault. This, then, is what the Prophet means when he says, that they would be prepared against the Chaldeans as one man.

He then adds, against thee, daughter of Babylon He intimates that they would be not only sufficiently strong against ordinary enemies, but also against the city itself. For had not this been added, Babylon would have ever been considered as an exception; for it was deemed impregnable on account of the multitude of men, the height and breadth of its walls, its towers, and all other defenses. Now, then, God shows that though Babylon proudly exulted in its forces, and thought itself exempt from every danger, yet the Persians and the Medes would possess sufficient power by which they would easily overcome it. What follows I cannot finish today; it is therefore better to stop here.


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